Local News

A New Nativity Scene to Be Unveiled

Ellwood City borough workers began setting up holiday decorations on the front lawn of the Municipal Building on Friday; yet, one display was missing – the Nativity Scene. Because of a threatened lawsuit by Freedom from Religion Foundation of Madison, Wis., the Nativity Scene will be off borough property for the first time in over 50 years. Instead, a Santa Claus and snowman decorate the spot formerly reserved for the religious display. With the help of attorney Joseph Bellissimo, a new nativity will be erected a few blocks away from its former spot. Bellissimo, owner of the former St. Agatha…


Completion of Community Plaza is Near

The borough’s Community Plaza and Stage continues to make progress and the end is near. Another step was taken this week as trees were added to the main plaza area. According to Lenore Bazzichi, president of Ellwood City Revitalization, all the trees and flowers in the plaza and farmers’ market area are being donated and maintained by Wendy and David Barensfeld. “Even without the leaves on the trees, you can see what an impact that will have on the space,” Bazzichi said. Just last month, the community plaza made even more progress by installing the fountain on the side of…


Board Discusses Fate of Former Elementary School

Last month, Walnut Ridge Elementary School was officially closed. Now, the school board is prepared to sell the once smallest of the district’s elementary schools. This decision is coupled with the selling of Ewing Park school’s contents – a school that was also a former elementary school in the district. All the members of the Ellwood City School Board were in favor Thursday night of receiving an appraisal and exploring the sale of the Walnut Ridge school building. In its final school year, Walnut Ridge held approximately 140 students. Because of its size, the district, facing huge deficits from the…


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It’s Official: Walnut Ridge Closed

The Ellwood City School District officially closed Walnut Ridge Elementary School on Thursday with a 5-0 vote during the school board meeting. This is step one of the final plan to reduce the number of elementary schools in the district to two. The school board also agreed to the reconfiguring of the three remaining elementary schools: North Side Primary – Kindergarten through grade 2, Perry Lower Intermediate – grades 3 and 4, and Hartman Intermediate – grades 5 and 6. Closing of Walnut Ridge was necessary because the district will be losing $1.65 million in state funding. Under PA Governor…


Formal Arraignment Scheduled for Alleged Killer

Keith Wolfrey, the 23-year-old Boyertown native and Ellwood City resident charged in the killing of his girlfriend Joie Lordi, will stand trial, but before that, the next step of the criminal procedure in Pennsylvania must take place. Scheduled for the morning of Sept. 7 before Judge Dominick Motto in the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas, the formal arraignment will be held. This arraignment typically occurs about 30 to 60 days following the preliminary hearing. The defendant is given a copy of the information sheet and advised of his/her rights. Although called a “formal” arraignment, the procedure is quite informal….


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Group Approved of Final Racing License

A harness racetrack and casino in Lawrence County is one step closer to becoming a reality. Since 2003, developers have been trying to get a track/casino in western PA’s Mahoning Township, but with numerous altercations, the project has been practically at a standstill. In a special Tuesday morning meeting, the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission voted to approve American Harness Tracks the last of the state’s four harness racing licenses. This comes as great news for officials in Lawrence County, as one of the commission’s regulations is that American Harness Tracks keep the project, formally known as Valley View Downs, at…


Local Hospital ER Ranks in Top 5 Percent in Country

Jameson Heath System’s Emergency Department has been ranked in the top 5 percent in the nation for emergency medicine excellence, receiving the 2011 Emergency Medicine Excellence Award. An analysis of emergency room data from 2006 to 2008 was conducted in April by HealthGrades, the nation’s leading independent source of physician information and hospital quality ratings. The study looked specifically at the mortality rates of over 4,900 hospitals across the country. It showed Jameson hospital within a group of only 255 hospitals (5 percent) with a notably low mortality rate in emergency rooms. Only 11 hospitals in all of Pennsylvania were…


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New Story Layout Offering More Features

Beginning July 1, EllwoodCity.org implemented a new layout format for its daily news stories and press releases. The new format has exciting features for our valued readers in addition to a clean format with larger and more legible fonts, photos and graphics. The new layout offers a feature for our readers to search older articles with search results available in a descending date format. Readers are also able to sort by author. A new story comment area allows our valued readers to post feedback in discuss story topics. Story comments are moderated using our website Terms and Conditions and comments…


Who Needs a Stove to Cook in this Heat?

The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for today (Thursday) that is in effect from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., with temperatures exceeding 95 degrees and a high level of humidity. This hot weather is nothing new, unfortunately – it’s been near 90 degrees since Monday, and it was so hot on Wednesday that a local restaurant tried using the sun and high heat as a stove. Ellwood Breakfast and Burgers cracked an egg on the sidewalk just outside their door Wednesday afternoon in hope of successfully cooking the egg on the hot surface. Although the air…


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Ewing Park School to Come Down After Festival

A contract was awarded last week to a Pittsburgh area company for the demolition of the Ewing Park School, effective immediately after the completion of the Arts, Crafts, and Food Festival in Ellwood City. Following a collection of 12 bids from companies in three different states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, the school board selected the lowest bid of $48,000 submitted by A.W. McNabb of Oakdale, Pa. for the demolition. A bid for the demolition went as high as $143,000 and the average bid was approximately $83,000. The closest company to Ellwood City to submit a bid was Dressler Excavating…